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Garters Galore!

Sorry, but I can’t resist a goofy alliterative title. :)
Since my current obsession is all things 18th century, it probably won’t surprise you that I’ve been trying my hand at a few new accessories. It’s been on my sewing to do list for more than five years now to make a pair of knitted garters, as well as a pair of embroidered ones, but honestly I haven’t had the time or reason to do so until now. In the past it was always more pressing for me to get a new outfit finished; unnecessary accessories were always put on the back burner. Now, I am happy to say that last month I was able to cross both types of garters off my list!


First, the knitted garters. They aren’t exactly period correct for the 18th century, but they are close enough for me. I was inspired by Katherine’s cute pink garters and made up the pattern, using The Workwoman’s Guide as a starting point. I haven’t knitted seriously in over four years, so I regarded this project as an experiment (that turned out well, thankfully). I used some DK weight silk yarn I had left over from another project and knitted it on size 3 needles. If I were to start over, I would definitely use a finer gauge yarn with smaller needles, but this was the only pink yarn in my stash. :)

The embroidered garters were another happy experiment. I fell in love with this pair from the V&A years ago and have had my heart set on making a pair of my own for ages. Thankfully they were featured in Underwear in Detail, which included a line drawing to help drawing-challenged me figure out the pattern. The phrase on them was a little sentimental for my taste so I used a saying from an 18th century wallet in the Colonia Williamsburg collections – Tout Est Plaisir/Quand On Aime  (All Is Pleasure/When One Loves). It seemed appropriate and ever so slightly naughty. They are garters after all. ;)

The design was embroidered on a heavy silk satin with silk floss using a combination of back, stem, and satin stitches. I backed the embroidery with the same fabric and finished the garters with ivory silk ribbon pleated around the edges. My stitches are far from perfect, but in the end I’m very pleased with them. The only problem is they won’t stay up! I think it’s a combination of slippery silk and the fact that I can’t tie them tight enough. I need to experiment more, perhaps making a pair with a buckle or elastic of some kind.

Posted: 10/3/2012 1:12:11 PM by Aubry | with comments
Filed under: 1770s: accessories
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